Curtain rises on performance market in China
Updated: 2013-06-25 06:56
By Mu Qian (China Daily)
Report reveals industry grew 60% last year
China's performance market grew tremendously in 2012, with several fields reaching historical heights, according to the 2013 Report on the Performance Market by the Ministry of Culture.
China's performance market grew to 60.3 billion yuan ($9.83 billion) in 2012, an increase of 60 percent from 2011. There were 2.01 million performances in China last year.
In 2012, there were 13,000 registered performing groups, 3,059 agencies and 1,966 venues. The number of private performing groups reached 10,000, a year-on-year increase of 25 percent.
The Ministry of Culture expects China's performance market to maintain robust growth due to a number of reasons.
"After 30 years of development, China is facing a transition of its economic structure, and cultural consumption will play a more important role," said Zhao Haisheng, deputy director of the Bureau for External Cultural Relations with the Ministry of Culture.
The ministry is transforming its main role from controlling and managing all cultural practices to making policy and providing services to related companies so as to stimulate the performance market.
The Detailed Rules for Implementation of Regulation on the Administration of Commercial Performances, passed in 2009, allowed more non-governmental capital to enter the performance market.
Some elements are constraining the development of the performance market. One outstanding problem is the lack of theaters. There were 13,000 performing troupes and 3,059 agencies nationwide last year, but only 1,966 theaters in which they could perform. Due to this shortage, rental fees are high and are still increasing.
As a result of the current situation in China's performance market, the China Association of Performing Arts has made several suggestions to the government.
The first recommendation is to divide government-owned theaters into non-commercial theaters and commercial theaters. The former will host public cultural events and enjoy government funding, while the latter operate according to market rules.
Other recommendations include encouraging private capital for the construction of more theaters and coordinating different government sectors to open their theaters to the public.
The association also suggested scrutinizing the management personnel of theaters to avoid wasting booking space, encouraging the construction of chain theaters and establishing a system to fund theaters according to performance projects.
Han Hongyue, a manager with Poly Chain Theaters, said that because Poly Culture Group runs 30 theaters throughout China, it can stage performance tours more easily than those companies without theaters.
Another problem with China' s performance market that the 2013 Report on the Performance Market points out is scalpers. The report found at least 400 illegal ticket sellers online that sell complementary tickets or scalp tickets for higher prices.
"The government should regulate ticketing companies and encourage a healthy competition mechanism," the report said.
Last week, the ministry announced that it would authorize provincial cultural departments to approve performances involving artists from abroad, which is expected to add impetus to the performance market.
Wei Ming, former general manager of Gehua Live Nation - which brought Bob Dylan, Jason Mraz, the Eagles and many other stars to China - said that the government should issue a standardized regulation for provincial departments to regulate the approval procedure.
He also suggested establishing an independent committee composed of experts and experienced performance agencies to help foreign artists tap the Chinese market.
(China Daily 06/25/2013 page4)